Saturday, January 20, 2018

De La Rosa & Landa to meet in an all Mexican final at the IRT 40th Annual Lewis Drug Pro-Am

Daniel De La Rosa will have a chance to do what few players done: win back to back events on the International Racquetball Tour (IRT), when he takes the court in the final of the 40th annual Lewis Drug Pro/Am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. De La Rosa, who won the Los Angeles Open earlier this month, advanced to the final with a win over fellow Mexican Alvaro Beltran, 15-13, 6-15, 11-10.

Beltran is the first player to lose by only one point in a semi-final since the IRT adopted the win by one rule at the start of 2018.

Beltran got to 10 first in the breaker by using his patented high lob serve along the right side wall. But at 10-9, De La Rosa hit it early, putting a forehand pinch shot into the right corner for a winner.

De La Rosa tied the game at 10-10 with a solid backhand shot that was the third shot of a rally he started with a drive serve to Beltran’s backhand. De La Rosa won it on the next rally with a backhand pinch shot after Beltran had made a great dive to hit a backhand ceiling ball and keep the rally going.

Standing in De La Rosa’s way on Sunday will be another Mexican: Alejandro Landa, who defeated Samuel Murray, 15-11, 15-7, in the other semi-final on Saturday. This will be the fourth IRT final between two Mexicans. The first three were all between De La Rosa and Beltran with De La Rosa winning the most recent ones (in 2017 & 2014) and Beltran winning the first (2013).

In fact, the Lewis Drug Pro-Am is the first IRT event to have an all Mexican final twice, as De La Rosa and Beltran were in the final last year, when De La Rosa took the title.

If De La Rosa wins Sunday, he’ll have four IRT titles, and move past a tie with Beltran and others into a tie with Steve Keeley, Gregg Peck and Steve Serot on the career wins list. But Landa could become the 37th man to win an IRT event, and it would be the second 1st time winner in the last three events.

The last time there were two 1st time winners close together was 2012, when Jose Rojas and Ben Croft won back to back events. Before that you need to got back to 2001 to 2002 when Kane Waselenchuk and then Jack Huczek won their first IRT events, which was within in the span of four events.

Back in the period of 1989 to 1991, there were eight 1st time winners over only thirteen events (8 in 13!). First time winners during that period were Mike Ray, Drew Kachtik, Tim Doyle, Tim Sweeney, Andy Roberts, Jack Newman, Dan Obremski, and Brian Hawkes. Those were the only wins for Sweeney and Hawkes, while Newman and Obremski only won one other time.

Also worth noting: this was the first IRT event with no USA players in the semi-finals. And that’s without Kane Waslenchuk, a Canadian and the #1 IRT player, in in the draw. There have been many times when only one of the four semi-finalists has been from the USA. Perhaps the first time was at Pro Nationals in Las Vegas in 2004, when Waselenchuk defeated Beltran in the final, and the semi-finalists were Mike Green from Canada, and the USA’s Jason Mannino.

There were two good semi-finals in doubles as well, and one upset, as 8th seeds Javier Mar and Rodrigo Montoya beat 4th seeds Jansen Allen and Felipe Camacho, 15-10, 15-12. Mar and Montoya will take on 2nd seeds Jake Bredenbeck and Jose Diaz in the final Sunday, as Bredenbeck and Diaz outlasted 6th seeds David Horn and Mauro Rojas over three games, 15-11, 11-15, 11-5.

The singles final will be on the IRT Network at 11 AM Sunday with the doubles final at noon.

2018 IRT Lewis Drug Pro-Am, January 18-21 2018
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Semi-finals - Saturday

8) Alejandro Landa d. 5) Samuel Murray, 15-11, 15-7
2) Daniel De La Rosa d. 3) Alvaro Beltran, 15-13, 6-15, 11-10

Final - Sunday

2) Daniel De La Rosa v. 8) Alejandro Landa - 11 AM

IRT Doubles Semi-finals - Saturday

8) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya d. 4) Jansen Allen & Felipe Camacho, 15-10, 15-12
2) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz d. 6) David Horn & Mauro Rojas, 15-11, 11-15, 11-5

IRT Doubles Semi-finals - Sunday

2) Jake Bredenbeck & Jose Diaz v. 8) Javier Mar & Rodrigo Montoya

Follow the bouncing ball….

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